Thursday, November 1, 2007

3D Hallowe'en.

As a rule, I always try to see a Hallowe'en movie on Hallowe'en Day. It's not always possible, since some years are thin for horror and Hallowe'en related films. I refused to see Saw 4, so Pickens were Slim.

So, for Hallowe'en this year, I went to see the 3D edition of "The Nightmare Before Christmas". I really was never a dyed-in-the-wool Tim Burton fan. I enjoyed 'Ed Wood" greatly (I believe it's his best film), but that was a film that didn't have the Tim Burton look. I never dug "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" or "Beetlejuice" the way most people did and I thought his "Batman" films were pretty contrived. I usually give him a chance on most of his films and I uniformly come away disappointed to some degree. I do, however, like "The Nightmare Before Christmas" very much. I think it's because, although it smacks of Burton's vision (the illusion is cinched with the Danny Elfman score and songs), it wasn't made by him. It does make all the difference for me. Yes, his name is prominent above the title, but the film doesn't feel like a Tim Burton film to me. There's more narrative control; more... depth.

The film was released in 1993, just before the hostile takeover of CGI. The replacement animation used with tangible, real world materials is what give the film an enduring quality that sets it apart from Gothic animated films that came after, most notably the lamentable "The Corpse Bride" (which was a masturbatory catalog of future Hot Topic merchandise). "The Nightmare Before Christmas" was a damn near perfect holiday fare, tailor made to become a perennial seasonal favorite. I myself have seen it a few times on the big screen and I've indulged in a screening every time it's been re-released. This time is no exception.

Now, I am an avid devotee of three dimensional methods. I own View Masters, Vintage Stereoscopes, Comic Books, 3D cameras (Still and Motion), a rig for a video camera (!) , several films the the Field Sequential format... I even have some 3D theatrical prints floating around somewhere. I go and see every theatrically exhibited 3D film I can feasibly make it to and I've seen some doozys! Last night, I finally made it to see "The Nightmare Before Christmas" in Disney Digital 3D.

I won't bore you with a overview of the plot and all. I'm sure you all have seen it by now. I'll just get straight to the point: "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is possibly the most deserving movie to be presented in 3D. For a film that was originally flat, the movie looks stunning. I don't know if the makers took the original film and made a computerized "left eye" or secondary image to make the 3D, or if they rendered each frame into the computer and made 2 completely new mapped out images, but whatever they did to it, it worked. It was like watching a pop up book come to life and, I believe, that's exactly what it should have been.

Nothing new was added to the film proper, that is, there was nothing revised for in-your-face 3D, which is a true blessing. While many people might be wholly disappointed by this matter, those people (aka: the general public, I fear) are wholly missing the point. 3D should never violate your eyes. The visual molestation that most 3D movies subject an audience to are exactly the reasons 3D has such a bad reputation. Headaches? Sure, I'd have a headache, too, if someone was constantly poking something within an inch of my face every 3 minutes!

What is done here is the happiest of Cinematic miracles. Not only is the 3D rendered well, it brings out details obscured by the original, single lens version. I noticed many background details and secondary characters that I'd missed the first, flat, time around. Complimenting the visuals, are a total spacial, discreet sound remix for the original soundtrack. It's quite directional and ambient and it serves the visuals extremely well; especially during the songs. I rarely have perfect Theatrical experiences, but this one qualifies.

Go see it. I believe there's only one more week left before it goes away, possibly forever.

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